“While Harvest and Willow Creek represent two recent, prominent examples in the Chicago area, abuses of power and church mismanagement happen across denominations and in churches of all sizes. Plenty in the pews have been left with the twisted grief of watching once-respected leaders leave their positions and facing the reality of a church in crisis.”
(Kate Shellnutt – Christianity Today) Last weekend was the first time Harvest Bible Chapel gathered for worship without James MacDonald as its senior pastor.
Days after firing the church’s founder, the elders of the Chicago-area multisite congregation announced more changes. The executive committee—the top leaders on the elder board—would also be resigning within months. A task force had been formed to review church structure and processes. This week, the elder board winnowed from 30 people to 9.
At Harvest, concerns had lingered for years after the church’s dismissal of three elders in 2013, alleged mismanagement, and negative reports swirling around MacDonald. As leaders and members pray and plan for a healthier church culture, they’re also left lamenting the hurt, confusion, and discord that’s led to this point.
“We know there are many of you feeling shock and frustration—those feelings are real and understandable. We know there are many who have been grieved by these things over the past weeks, months and even years—and we share your grief,” Dave Learned, pastor of counseling ministry, told the congregation on Saturday night. “Our earnest desire is that God would, in his grace, forgive our sins, heal our wounds, and restore unity and harmony to this congregation.”
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